Posts Tagged: The Guardian
If it seems that “lost” books, short stories, and everything else are coming out of the woodwork, well, they are. The Strand magazine has just published Twixt Cup and Lip, an early play by William Faulkner written in the 1920s:
The Strand describes the play as “a light-hearted jazz age story.” Prohibition is under way, and the friends are enjoying an illicit drink.
It might be ill-advised to reduce an artist’s life and work to a single observation, the magic key that unlocks everything, but in the case of Robert Mapplethorpe there is a pronounced duality—in the themes and subjects depicted in his “icy”, graphically stylized black-and-white photographs; in the dark-angel personae he cultivated; and in the controversies all of these facets wittingly or unwittingly sparked during his short lifetime.
Umberto Eco, at a public appearance in the UK to support Numero Zero, imparted some choice thoughts on what makes literature, and on what makes his distinct, from conspiracies and public knowledge to literary losers:
It’s very boring to talk about winners.
One of the things I run into surprisingly often is people saying to me, ‘I’ve never heard of you before’… Yet I’ve been publishing in ‘mainstream’ journals and my book won [the Pulitzer] prize, so what is it that is making me invisible?
While many authors have embraced social media and enjoy being available to readers, others feel that their only responsibility to the reader is to write good books. Novelist Joanne Harris sparked this conversation when she suggested a writer’s manifesto for the digital age Monday night at a literature festival in England....more
I did give it up. I actually destroyed the manuscript, I even went on my friends computers and erased it.” He said he retrieved the text by searching in the email outbox of an old iMac computer.
Marlon James, who recently won the Man Booker Prize for A Brief History of Seven Killings, tells the Guardian how having his first manuscript rejected seventy-eight times before getting published almost made him quit writing....more
Choosing the winner of the largest prize in English Literature is no easy task. Man Booker judge Sam Leith discusses the challenges of taking on this responsibility over at the Guardian....more
Digital technology is changing literature. Those changes are more than just variations on traditional forms like the novel. Video game storytelling, for instance, is a perfectly valid form of art and yet often lacks recognition in the literary world. That needs to change, argues Naomi Alderman over at the Guardian:
The problem is that people who like science and technology, and people who like storytelling and the arts have typically been placed in different buildings since about the age of 16.
After having written 800 pages on torture, rape, world war, and genocide, it was time to take on some really controversial topics like fused participles, dangling modifiers, and the serial comma.
Over at the Guardian, Steven Pinker defends his choice to fight the good fight against solecisms....more
It’s more Baldwin understood that if you are going to say something important about the world it is best if you try to say it beautifully.
In response to Slate’s viral article about the rise of the “harrowing personal essay,” prominent editors from different publications weigh in on the importance of confessional writing, reasons for its gender divide, and the publishing process behind it....more
While some audience members clapped, others shifted uncomfortably at the disconnect between Gay’s light-hearted opening and Jong’s seriousness.
Kim Devereux outlines some rules for writing good sex. (But never bad sex.)
Do go for the etymological dictionary for epithets that feel historical: like, membrum virile, arbor vitae (from the late 18th century, for a type of evergreen shrub), wrinkly (early 15th century) or bole (early 14th century, from Old Norse bolr meaning tree trunk).
For the Guardian, Erwin James reflects on his experience reading while in prison, and how books like David Levering’s Prisoners of Honor reshaped his life:
I was without skills or abilities, but I could read. I’m sure the six books a week I was allowed from the prison library helped to keep me alive during that uncertain year, unlike the man in the cell above mine who hanged himself during my first Christmas inside.
The University of Texas purchased Kazuo Ishiguro’s archive for just over $1m, which consists of early drafts and notes that the novelist threw “indiscriminately” into a cardboard box under his desk during his drafting process. In addition, the collection includes a manuscript for a pulp western novel that Ishiguro thought had been lost....more
The stories we tell ourselves can help us understand, and maybe even adapt, to this new world. But the dour dystopias and escapist fantasies of our current science fiction diet just won’t do. We need something new: a form of science fiction that tackles the radical changes of our pressing and strange reality.
YA authors now find themselves walking the fine line between fiction and reality. They have a duty to portray illness accurately, as they must avoid harmfully romanticising dying…they must also be careful not to cross into territory which is too upsetting.
After reading from his forthcoming release Slade House at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, David Mitchell announced that he has created “his own version of middle earth.” Like Mitchell’s prior works, Slade House will incorporate various genres and points of view:
I like to use genre as a tool, like style, structure or a character.
A Florida school has removed The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time from its reading list, reports the Guardian. It’s not the first time the book has been deemed controversial, and author Mark Haddon had this to say about this new complaint:
The assumption is that I should be morally affronted when this happens – and it has happened surprisingly often – but the truth is that it always generates a really interesting debate among school kids and librarians and parents, not just about Curious, but about literature and freedom and language, and this is an undeniably good thing,” said Haddon.
Several western authors have had their names pirated by a Russian publisher that prints books about Vladimir Putin, reports the Guardian. The journalists, analysts, and authors did not write the books nor did they know about their publication. The Russian language books were published by Algoritm, a two-decades old publisher of controversial political and social content....more
For the Guardian, Julia Eccleshare explores why homelessness is rarely represented in children’s literature. What she finds is that novels for young readers tend to capitalize on the idea of “home” as a place of “fundamental security,” a theme that young readers can easily comprehend:
But perhaps the specifics of homelessness in terms of either time or place is not the most significant feature.